Gulasch is a comfort food deeply rooted in Austro-Hungarian culture and can be quite easily adapted for dieting needs. And when dieting, we need comforting food the most. A deep bowl of hot stew to hug on a rainy day. And it is even ritch in protein, so what’s not to love about it?
Gulasch is a deceptively easy dish. Meat, onions and paprika. But the devil is in the detail and a really good Gulasch is hard to come by, even in Vienna. By the way, the best Gulasch is the one my mother does, but there are places that come close. As much as it is a simple dish, it takes a lot of time preparing it. A true soul food. The most important part is slowly cooking down the onions in lard (hey, we are in Vienna, oil is for salads). This gives a sweetness, umami flavour and most importantly, incredible texture for the finished Gulasch.
We cheat a little here. We fry the meat to improve its flavour and then save some time at the onion-part of the recipe. This part is not like the traditional recipe where you add the meat to the onions, but I think it saves time. And it still provides a tasty end product, which is important for casual everyday cooking. But if you have the time, take the “slow onion-route”, it pays off.
I made a huge portion for this recipe, so feel free to scale down as needed. Use the sweet paprika powder liberally, but be cautious with the hot stuff, Gulasch isn’t supposed to be hot, just use it to bring some life to the dish. If you have enough beef stock, feel free to omit the water and use more stock.
- 3,3kg Lean stewing beef
- 2kg Onions
- 90g Lard
- 90g Tomato concentrate
- 400ml Beef stock
- 1l Water
- Sweet red paprika powder, hot paprika or chili, caraway, majoram, salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 160°C. Cut the meat into chunks and put a large dutch oven or pan on high heat. Add some of the lard and fry the meat until at has a nice golden crust on at least one side. Remove, add more lard, add more meat and repeat until all the meat is done.
- Meanwhile peel the onions and cut into relatively fine rings. Remove the last batch of meat, add the last remainder of lard and fry the onions until they take some colour. Add salt, caraway seeds and pepper for this.
- Add the tomato concentrate and let it fry for a little Add the paprika powder (be generous), hot paprika and majoram and fry until fragrant. Don’t overdo this, paprika can turn bitter!
- Add back the beef, water, stock and the remaining spices (if you feel you need more). Bring to a boil, cover tightly and cook in the oven for about 4 hours or until completely tender. Taste and season to perfection.
100 grams of the delicious Gulash have
- 10,6g Protein
- 1,8g Carbs
- 4,3g Fat
A slice of good quality bread or a crunchy Semmel (kaiser roll) are my favourite sides for Gulasch, but when dieting a nice, crisp salad like in the picture, will be a nice addition. I also like all sorts of roasted veggies to go with it, but this isn’t very traditional and every Viennese will give you a strange look.
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